A critical review of cast-off crab shell recycling from the perspective of functional and versatile biomaterials

  • Weiping Su
  • Shaoqi Yu
  • Daidai Wu
  • Meisheng Xia
  • Zhengshun Wen
  • Zhitong YaoEmail author
  • Junhong Tang
  • Weihong WuEmail author
Review Article


Shellfish cultivation is an expanding economic activity worldwide. However, the rapid development of crab farming and processing result in a large number of crab shells (CS). Utilizing CS could not only benefit the environment and economy but also promote the sustainable development of aquaculture. In this work, it reviews and analyzes recent attempts in CS recycling, including extracting chitin and its derivatives, for use as adsorbent and flocculant and for preparing polymer composites and catalysts, as well as medical applications. The challenges in these utilizations are discussed, and future research directions are proposed as well. Extracting chitin and its derivates, for use as adsorbent and flocculant, are recent major recycling approaches. Preparing polymer composites and carbon materials has gained more and more attentions. Biotechnology is an alternative method for extracting chitin and its derivates from CS, and high-efficiency desalted and deproteinized bacteria need to be screened. Immobilizing the CS-based adsorbents is the key of treating wastewater in continuous systems. Using CS as a biofiller to prepare polymer composites is promising, and surface modification to improve the interfacial compatibility between CS-based fillers and matrix needs to be further studied.


Crab shell  Biomaterial  Chitin and chitosan  Flocculant  Adsorbent 


Funding information

This work was financially supported by the Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. LY19B070008) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51911530460 and 51606055).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Materials and Environmental EngineeringHangzhou Dianzi UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Guangzhou Institute of Energy ConversionChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Ocean CollegeZhejiang UniversityZhoushanChina
  4. 4.School of Food Science and PharmaceuticsZhejiang Ocean UniversityZhoushanChina

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